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Pastry School: Buttermilk Biscuit Secrets

Updated on May 20, 2011

Holle's pastry school - southern food

Welcome to my pastry school and online cooking school! Today's pastry is a wonderful southern food - buttermilk biscuits. I attended one of those formal pastry schools, where I learned many basics, but I've largely expanded my techniques through trial and error. As a result, you can benefit for free, without having to actually go to one of the pastry schools!

I come from a long family of biscuit cooks and biscuit eaters. My grandfather liked the tasty bread so much that he had my grandmother make a big pan with almost every meal. He always said there was no such thing as a bad biscuit - some are better than others, but a bad biscuit is an oxymoron, according to my soul food loving Papa..

I've eaten many, many biscuits over the years, and my mom made the best! One type she made had yeast in them, and I haven't found her recipe for those yet, but I do have her recipe for butermilk biscuits, along with a couple of "secrets" she shared with me.

First of all, the brand of flour you use is very important, though it's often overlooked. You need White Lily self-rising flour. Another secret is to keep it in the freezer. I'm not sure why this makes a difference, but it does.

To make this recipe, you'll need:

2 cups White Lily self-rising flour (plus more for handling)

1 egg solid shortening (a ball of shortening the size of an egg - I use Crisco)

1 cup whole buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions:

Dump the cold flour into a large bowl - do not sift. Add the salt and sugar.

Add the shortening and blend until the mixture resembles course meal. You can use a fork, a pastry cutter, or your fingers.

Gradually add the buttermilk, up to 3/4 cup. if the dough is too dry and is not holding together, you can add up to another 1/4 cup. Dough should not be sticky.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it just a couple of times. This is another secret: too much kneading will make your biscuits hard and tough because too much air will be trapped in the dough.

Using floured hands, pinch off a piece of dough, form it into a smooth ball, and place it on a greased pan or cookie sheet. Continue placing dough pieces on the cookie sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. When you've used all the dough, grease your hand and flatten each biscuit ball until they touch each other.

Bake at 450 degrees for about 11-12 minutes. When you remove the cooked biscuits from the oven, cover them immediately with a clean dish towel. This will keep the biscuits soft and warm.

If you prefer more uniform biscuits, use a round biscuit cutter and cut 1/2-inch thick biscuits from the dough.

Read more about my pastry school, my online cooking school, and my online cooking classes below!

An important part of culinary arts in the South!
An important part of culinary arts in the South!

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    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      They are yummy!

    • profile image

      scholarshipsformo 6 years ago from California

      This looks pretty good. Yummy

    • elf_cash profile image

      elf_cash 7 years ago

      I'm loving your pastry school!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, Tony - they're too good!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Gonna try this one too!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for visiting, Sandy!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      This looks good.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Here, Bear. Would you like some apple butter with that? [Holle passes jar to Bear.]

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Michael, this is a no-fail recipe! Let me know how they turn out.

    • bearclawmedia profile image

      bearclawmedia 7 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      Oh yummy doo b doo, I am speechless, my mouth is full of habee's yummy biscuit. Crumb falls from my face, intoxicated with delicious goodness. I have to scream Woo, woo!

    • Michael Willis profile image

      Michael Willis 7 years ago from Arkansas

      YUM!!! I do miss my Grandmothers homemade buttermilk biscuits. I always had to have the "middle" biscuit. lol Thanks for the recipe, I may have to try my hand at making biscuits, finally.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, G! Let me know how you like them!

    • GPAGE profile image

      GPAGE 7 years ago from California

      habee.....MAN, I can't keep up with you! So many fantastic hubs and great recipes! This is one of my fave things! I'm going to try this soon! Best, G

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, smireles! I'll check it out. I know that dang recipe is here somewhere!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      That's great, HH! Glad you solved that!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, John. You love biscuits, too, huh?

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

      We are biscuit lovers, too! My sister-in-law is a Georgia girl and she tells me her mother made Angel Biscuits. These biscuits are made with yeast so they might be the ones your mother made. Here is a link to the recipe. http://southernfood.about.com/od/biscuitrecipes/r/...

      Thanks for a great hub that made me hungry!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That sound a winner, habee. By the way, I saw in our supermarket 'cornflour' and now I can make all your recipe. How about that? I was right it is what England calls maize.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Just shows Great Minds Think Alike!! XXOO

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Unfortunately, I love 'em, too, John!!

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Habee- You ae sooo Delicious! Love them!!!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Lorlie! Sorry i'm tempting you! Now you see why I'm fat!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      E, remember what Papa said - no bad biscuits!!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Vanne, how many angel biscuits can you eat?? Bet I can beat ya!!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Iris, for that addition!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Bpop, let me know how they turn out!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Silky, this is no fail! Try it!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Lord, girl-how many lbs. must I gain?

    • ehern33 profile image

      ehern33 7 years ago

      I had biscuits yesterday and they didn't look as good. I am surely missing something here..Oh, I just remembered, I made them.. Why do I torture myself?

    • profile image

      Vanne Way 7 years ago

      There is one thing that sticks out in my mind more than others. Angel Biscuits! Grab a stick of butter and go to town!

    • profile image

      WildIris 7 years ago

      Self-rising flour is not a flour I have on hand, and what is it anyway? Self-rising four is flour with salt and leavening. Leavening in this case is baking powder. To make your own self-rising flour: For each cup of flour add 1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder and 1/2 tsp. of salt, mix. I imagine the fluffy beauty of this recipe relies on the chemical interaction between the buttermilk and the baking powder. This combination makes for awesome pancakes too.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Dear habee,

      The picture alone has me drooling. I am going to try this recipe this week-end. Thanks so much.

    • Mr. Silky Johnson profile image

      Mr. Silky Johnson 7 years ago

      habee I'm an ole country boy who grew up on biscuits and gravy. Ole Silky loves his biscuits, just can't make'm fer nuthin. LOL Maybe now I can.